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Marvel Comics’ New Captain America Will Be African-American Sam Wilson

Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada announced the change on The Colbert Report.

Stuart Immonen / Marvel

1. The new Captain America in the Marvel Comics universe will be Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon, Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada announced on The Colbert Report late Wednesday.

After original Captain America Steve Rogers has his super serum sucked out of his body, thereby losing his super-soldier abilities and instantly aging some six decades — because comic books — Rogers’ longtime friend Wilson will take up the mantle of Captain America in a new Marvel Comics title out this fall, All-New Captain America, written by Rick Remender with art by Stuart Immonen.

This is the second major announcement of a change to Marvel’s roster of superheroes this week, after the company’s reveal that the new Thor will be a woman on The View early Tuesday. In fact, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, the new Cap is part of larger, ongoing changes among the Avengers called “Avengers NOW!” — including a reimagined suit for Tony Stark’s Iron Man.

Like with the new female Thor, Quesada stressed that this will only affect the comics — for now, Chris Evans will continue to play Captain America in the Marvel Studios films.

While there were hints that a new Captain America would be African-American leading up to Wednesday’s announcement, also like with the new Thor, the change is still likely to cause controversy among comics fans. In the more than 70-year history of Captain America, characters other than Steve Rogers have carried Cap’s shield, but this is the first time a black character has officially taken on the role of Captain America. (Isaiah Bradley, a black character who was subjected to super soldier testing during WWII, never replaced Steve Rogers as the only official Captain America, but some still consider him the first black Cap.)

“I think that it’s important with these stories to do things that are natural and make sense and have an inherent logic to the universe, but are also constantly shifting and exciting, keeping the drama high,” said Remender on Marvel.com. “In order to do that it really comes down to creating new dynamics. … For most of his professional life, Sam has worked as a social worker, so he’s seen the worst of urban society up close, and how crime, poverty, lack of social structure and opportunity can affect the community. So he’s got perhaps a greater focus on the plight of the common man, and perhaps a greater empathy for the underprivileged than maybe even Steve himself.”

Colbert also addressed the historic change with Quesada on his show, joking, “Doesn’t that make him Captain African-American?”

“I don’t see colors,” Quesada responded.

“If you don’t see colors,” responded Colbert with a smile, “how do you do comic books?”

2. Quesada, meanwhile, told Colbert that he could be the next Falcon. It’s a good look for him.

update

This post has been updated to note that some fans consider Isaiah Bradley to be the first black Cap, although he never officially replaced Rogers in the role.

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